Seven Corners Task Force

Minutes of the Seven Corners Transportation and Land Use Task Force Meeting
March 11, 2014

Meeting called to order at 7:02 PM
Mason District Government Center


Task Force: John Thillmann, Mary Ellen Ward, Evelyn Haught, Steve Tillman, Patrick Hoar, Mark Silverwood, Nathan Bath, Jim Edmonson, Dick Knapp, Vince Burke, Blake Smith (arrived at 8:40pm)

Staff: Elizabeth Hagg (OCR), JoAnne Fiebe (OCR), Bernard Suchicital (DPZ), Michael Garcia (FCDOT)


Public Comment Period

Paul Bickmore from the Coalition for Smarter Growth provided testimony to the Task Force on three issues that the Coalition would like considered as part of the Task Force’s agenda.  Mr. Bickmore first commented about the street grid.  The Coalition believes that Conceptual Design #4 (presented at the March 2014 Task Force meeting) offers the most effective, community-friendly, and favorable economic development approach.  With regards to transit, the Coalition concurs with the Task Force that a dedicated lane on Leesburg Pike for future high-capacity transit to the East Falls Church Metro Station via Roosevelt Blvd is the appropriate alternative and that consideration should also be given to a dedicated lane on Route 50.  The Coalition recommends that priority should be placed on bicycle, transit, and pedestrian access to the Metro.  Finally, the Coalition is concerned about the potential loss of affordable housing in Seven Corners.  Mr. Bickmore asked that a recent Council of Governments webinar on transit-oriented affordable housing be circulated to the Task Force.


Minutes and Administrative Items

The Task Force reviewed the Minutes of the February meeting.  A motion to approve them was made by Mary Ellen Ward and seconded by Evelyn Haught.  The Minutes were approved unanimously.

John Thillmann explained that Jim Mcllvaine will no longer be serving on the Task Force.  Dick Knapp, from Foulger Pratt, will be replacing him.  Mr. Knapp is a joint partner with Mr. Mcllvaine on a property in the Seven Corners study area along Leesburg Pike.

John Thillmann also explained that he has begun reaching out to the homeowner associations within and adjacent to the study area.  The first meeting will be in two weeks.  He asked if any Task Force members are interested in attending.  Patrick Hoar stated that he would like to join Mr. Thillmann at any upcoming meetings.


Transportation Analysis Schedule for the Duration of the Study

Michael Garcia from Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) outlined the schedule to complete the transportation analysis.  He explained that the goal of tonight’s meeting is to eliminate one or two of the concepts based on additional information that is being provided by the consultant as well as community feedback provided at the previous Task Force meeting.  Next month FCDOT and the consultant will return to the Task Force with additional information and analysis on the concepts that the Task Force supports.  In May, the consultant will submit the Task Force’s approved concept to VDOT for review.


Transportation Analysis Findings

Michael Garcia first explained that the concepts were changed and relabeled since the last Task Force meeting as follows:

Concept A – The couplet was reduced in size to avoid conflicts to adjacent properties and crossings over Route 50 were altered.
Concept B – Minor adjustments were made to road alignments.
Concept C – Jughandle locations were changed.

Mr. Garcia also reminded the Task Force that as they discuss level-of-service (LOS) that it is based on the worst 15 minutes of the peak hour.

Zachery Horowitz from Kittelson & Associates provided an overview of the work performed since the December Task Force meeting which primarily consisted of travel demand modeling of the three network concepts that the Task Force recommended for further analysis.  Kittelson first modeled the existing network under current land use intensities as well as the existing network based on full build-out of the Comprehensive Plan in the year 2040.  The consultant then analyzed the three concept networks with the projected land use densities under consideration by the Task Force.  

The results showed that doing no road improvements would result in much worse traffic than is currently experienced.  Zachery Horowitz explained that all three network concepts would greatly improve traffic flow.  Some other distinctions between the three concepts include:

Concept A – Focuses more on regional movement (mobility)
Concept B – Balances mobility and accessibility.  This concept allows a boulevard/main street approach for Route 7.
Concept C – Focuses on accessibility.  This concept offers slightly greater improvements to traffic flow at the Patrick Henry/Route 50 intersection.  It would be easier to phase construction of Concept C than either Concept A or B.


Measures of Effectiveness - Assessment of the Three Concepts

Michael Garcia reviewed the measures of effectiveness used to evaluate the different concepts with the Task Force.  These include:
-        Multimodal connectivity, which incorporates vehicle movement, pedestrian and bicycle access, transit services, regional and local movement
-        Implementation, which includes cost, right-of-way needs, and phasing
-        Ability to implement the Task Force vision


Discussion and Ranking

Vince Burke stated that he is concerned that the consultant and Task Force have created concepts that include a lot of roadway bridges and will limit access to parcels and create a situation like the mixing bowl.  He explained that he is having trouble visualizing the impacts of the different concepts.

John Thillmann asked the consultant to identify the key segments of the plan that must be constructed first versus those that can wait or are not critical to making the network function.  Mr. Thillmann also thinks that the consultant, FCDOT and the Task Force are leaning towards Concept C.

Several Task Force members expressed concern that there may be phasing issues with the Task Force proposed bridge over Route 50.

Mary Ellen Ward stated that she believes Concept B is the most pedestrian and bicycle friendly.  Others concurred with her statement.

Several Task Force members noted problems with Concept A, such as the cul-de-sac configuration of Wilson Boulevard and the one-way pairs comprising Route 7.

The Task Force was then asked to rank the network concepts in order of preference.

Concept A was not chosen as a first preference by any of the Task Force members.  Concept B was chosen as a first choice by five members, and Concept C was chosen as a first choice by six members.

The Task Force generally agreed to move Concepts B and C forward for further analysis.  The consultant will return to the Task Force at the April meeting and present their findings and recommendations.

The next Task Force meeting will be on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the Mason District Government Center. 

The Task Force adjourned at 8:50 pm.


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